My husband helps with the kids at night.

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It’s funny how in our society, we hold females to a higher standard in parenting than males. If women have to be mothers, they have to do everything perfect. There’s so much more competition. With fathers, the fact they don’t refuse to change a diaper or two is all they need to do to be totally involved. I know I’m making generalizations but just go with it.

When my husband helps with the kids at night (putting them to bed, taking them back to bed if they wake up in the middle of the night, checking for monsters, reading bedtime stories or singing them to sleep) I’m met with amazement or a ‘you’re so lucky, that’s usually the mom’s job’. I think it’s the way most people see each parent’s role within the family. If my husband works a full time job, he should get an uninterrupted night of sleep every night, right? Since I stay at home, I should suck it up and get up during every hour of teething hell or monster lurking behind the curtains. I guess I’m not that much of a martyr.

My husband knows if I barely sleep for a consecutive number of nights, I turn into a raging maniac who can’t function during the day. He sees it when I don’t allow anyone to talk to me until I poured two large cups of coffee down my gullet. He also sees what I do as a full time job. When I don’t function, our kids won’t get proper care. It’s not that he’s being an amazingly awesome father who goes over the top (though he would argue he was nonetheless), but he splits the parenting down the middle as much as he possibly can. He helps me and I help him (or try to). If he has an important meeting or presentation or business trip early the next morning, I get up with the kids during the night. If I didn’t sleep for three consecutive nights and forgot how to tie my shoelaces, he gets the kids the next night. Once I remember the bunny runs around the tree THEN  jumps in a hole, we try to split the tasks again.

It’s not perfect. Sometimes I feel like he’s keeping a tally of how many times he gets up each night vs. how many times I get up. “No no, you only got up TWO times, not THREE times last night because 1 time didn’t count when you only rubbed her back and didn’t have to pick her up.”

I lose on a technicality.

Then I retort with, “but I still technically got up AND walked across the house into her room AND walked back into our bedroom and took THIRTY minutes each time to fall back asleep again.”

Someone tell me we aren’t the only parents who talk like this. At least it sounds funny when I type it out.

Of course I keep my own tally as well. I’m not perfect. Every business trip he takes with every night he isn’t home I make a mental tally of, so one day, I feel totally justified to abandon him and our children for a guilt-free, three week cruise alone. I can dream.

Another reason for his nighttime duties is because he isn’t here all day to see them. He doesn’t want to be the kind of dad who comes home at night, and sees his kids for half an hour each day. He knows he’s missing out. Even if nighttime duties are torturous sometimes, I think a part of him enjoys the fact that his kids do really need him. The baby wants him for comfort when sharp calcified, knife-like structures emerge from her soft delicate gums causing a pain similar to birthing a child. When our toddler is scared of the dark, or a monster lurking in her closet, she’ll scream for dad. As she says, daddy is large, mommy is medium (always flattered from this observation but I digress), so daddy can protect her from monsters.

So when it sounds like he is justified in refusing to help me because of his job and my lack of one, sure. He can refuse. But he doesn’t want to. We both want sleep and the other one to take the kids every night. I think everyone wants that. But he doesn’t want to just be a paycheck and the guy who occasionally kills spiders. It’s as simple as that.

How to be better than everyone else.

I’ve heard this said many times throughout my life, either to me or referring to someone/something else. It’s logic that people apply to situations so they don’t feel bad about themselves. Or it’s to belittle someone with. Someone told me that anyone can draw a picture. But that person doesn’t want to take the time to learn how to. Which is why that person isn’t good at art in general. This implies that I’m wasting my time while there are better things to do.

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It took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip. It’s probably the best drawing I’ve ever done.

I’ve also heard that (as a photography major) anyone can click a button on a camera and take a picture. That photography is a worthless skill, and a picture is a picture. This implies that I spent 4 years of college wasting my life away. A picture with the top of everyone’s head missing and out of focus is equivalent to a nicely composed photo with correct lighting, sharpness and contrast. Aperture shmaperture.

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Yup, same thing.

The first and last time I ever told someone my salary from my job as a graphic artist (I was naïve back then, never again will I discuss salary) I was told that I shouldn’t make more money than they did, as all I did was sit around doodling pictures all day, while they were saving the world by trying to cure cancer and diseases. This implies that our jobs define us by our status only, not by our ability. It implies that some people are better than others based on our chosen fields. While trying to cure cancer is pretty noble, said person was still in school and I was working a full time job after college. So they were probably bitter and looking for an argument.

I also enjoy hearing how anyone can be a mom. Anyone with a uterus can pop out a few kids. What’s so hard about it? This implies that women who choose to be mothers are taking the easy way out, so they don’t have to do anything meaningful, as in, a career. Yes, many women can be mothers. But it’s obviously not about that. You can be a good mom or a horrible mom. You can produce productive members of society (maybe ones who can cure cancer one day!) and well rounded human beings. It is hard work to take care of other human beings. One’s trying to stick their tongue in an electrical outlet and the other is trying to shove their head into a plastic bag and dinner is burning on the stove almost causing a fire as you’re trying to prevent one or both your kids from winning the Darwin award. So by stating that anyone can be a mom deduces the task to merely a physiological one. Congrats, you have fully functional reproductive organs.

Wait, did I even use ‘physiological’ correctly? I wouldn’t know I’m just a useless breeder with no salary.

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I know what you’re all thinking: she must’ve photoshopped herself to make herself that skinny.

And the even smarter ones are thinking: she’s got mad skills in illustration.

According to this logic, I’ve comprised a list of things I can now say that makes me look like I’m better than everyone else without actually doing anything. And so I can sound like a jerk.

1) I decided not to be a classical pianist prodigy because I didn’t feel like practicing so much.

2) Anyone can be a doctor. I just didn’t want to get straight A’s and go to med school.

3) Its not that I can’t marry Brad Pitt; it’s that I didn’t choose to pursue him. That’s why we aren’t engaged.

These can be said to: prodigies, doctors, and the rest of civilization who has long drawn out obsession with Brad Pitt.

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